Rana Plaza disaster
The 24 April 2017 marks the 4th anniversary of the Rana Plaza disaster. In 2013 the Rana Plaza eight storey building collapsed in the Savar Upazila of Dhaka, Bangladesh, killing 1,138 people. More than 2,500 people were rescued alive, some suffering from terrible injuries.
The disaster drew attention to the poor working conditions in Bangladesh’s garment industry, one of the world’s largest, and opened many people’s eyes to what ‘Fast Fashion’ means not just to the environment, but to the people who make the garments and shoes.
Bangladeshi factories are providing cheap clothing for many major Western retailers, which benefit from the country’s widespread low-cost labour.
There’s a great deal written about the garment and fashion production and how this has moved on since 2013 – Livia Firth pointed us to an article written by Marc Bain in the Quarz magazine – Brands being praised for TRANSPARENCY – There are all kinds of frameworks for measuring companies based on their environmental, social, and governance (ESG) practices. The rankings often reward transparency, and they give companies something to crow about in press releases and corporate sustainability reports. Read more here FALSE EQUIVALENCE
Global companies get too much credit for their transparency.
At the same time, smaller brands are working hard to support their workers,
👆Label #goals 👌 The label on our clothing usually tells us how to wash it, what it’s made of, and which country it was finished…But not who made it, and under what conditions. Be curious, find out, ask #whomademyclothes? ——————— #Repost @woolpower_official ・・・ Hej alla nya följare! Visste ni att våra sömmerskor märker plaggen de syr med sina namn? Vem har sytt din tröja? ❄️ // Hello all new followers! Did you know that our seamstresses tag the clothes with their names? Who made your sweater? ❄️ #imadeyourclothes
As Safia Minney says: “Switching to ethics in fashion and business is the most powerful movement of our day – it will eradicate slavery, exploitation and the destruction of our natural world…”
This article updates a post which previously appeared on agreenerlifeforus.com/who-made-my-clothes in 2016
Who Made my Clothes?
In 2016, Fashion Revolution Day marking the date of the Rana Plaza disaster, was extended to a week, with events happening all over the UK, 80 countries worldwide supported the campaign.
To get involved @Fash_Rev encouraged followers to instagram the brands you wear with the question #whomademyclothes ?
I asked Po-Zu, People Tree and White Stuff…
— People Tree (@PeopleTree) April 18, 2016
And another excellent response to my photo from Po-Zu shoes…
— Po-Zu Shoes (@Po_Zu) April 18, 2016
Evening… Messy hair, don’t care… This is what happens when you take your sweater off and put… https://t.co/YqIZpYjJJA
— The Ali Clifford 🌱 (@incredibusy) April 18, 2016
As well as challenging fashion brands, Fashion Revolution also aims to highlight and congratulate responsible and ethical producers. (incidentally, White Stuff never did answer the question)
Po-zu shoes have been producing ethical footwear for almost a decade so who better to use as an example of a responsible brand. I spoke to Po-Zu founder Sven Segal about good practice as a responsible fashion brand and have included some of Sven’s comments below…
“Shoes are a bit tricky to turn inside out and often lack informative labelling on what materials are used, and where they have been produced. The only label requirement we’re aware of on imported shoes from outside the EU is to mark if the shoes are leather or synthetic just because there are differences in import tax. But how on Earth can we know what we are stepping into?
A toxic cocktail of chemically tanned leather with solvent based glues perhaps?
Unfortunately it’s highly likely folks. So here is a partially turned boot of ours to show one neat way to make it better and detox. We love using Harris Tweed which is one of the best examples of slow fashion and sustainable design. The beauty behind Harris Tweed lies in its heritage, authentic artisan workmanship, and low impact production ( weaved on pedal power looms) that is locally sourced and fully traceable.
May consumers become more conscious and turn to ethical fashion. Viva @fash_rev! May good soles be with you x”
You can read more about the ethical manufacturing at Po-Zu here, Our Promise.
So – show your label, and ask brands “Who made my clothes?”
Ali asking ‘who made my clothes?’ in 2014…